Why are all the reviews featured within the SMR Home Theatre site positive? Have we 'sold out' to the manufacturers or do we benefit from the inclusion of glowing testimonials? Neither. SMR Home Theatre's reviewing policy is explained below...
E-mails, e-mails, e-mails: do we get e-mails. Frequently, they come from people who share our views of whatever review they are reading. Sometimes they just ask questions looking for clarifications. Too often, they want to know why all the reviews are so positive. Recently received was one well-intentioned e-mail asking what kind of pressure we are under to say good things. The answer to that one was easy. "None". This is a non-commercial site. We dont have to worry about loosing advertising dollars. Neither do we have to worry about upsetting a company that just sent us a below par piece of gear - we dont want to form any relationship with them anyway! So what would we care?
The fact is that we at SMR do not do negative reviews. Thats not to say that we dont call em like we see them, we certainly do, but the deal is that we solicit review samples (rarely are they offered to us out of the blue) and we only solicit from companies we know of intimately, or from companies having a top-flight reputation.
One thing weve learned in all our combined years of rabid audiophile-ism is that all people dont look for exactly the same things. Frequently, people have differing lists of priorities they want appeased when listening to gear. Most importantly - as the room in which a system is placed is as important as the system placed within - even people looking for the exact same final result will require the purchase of different gear as their rooms will have a different effect on the sound. For instance, two listeners with the exact same taste in sound may wind up with two completely different pairs of speakers. One may have a very "live" room, in which most speakers will sound too bright and the other may have a dead room in which a sweet or neutral speaker may sound lifeless. In the context of this discussion, speakers operating within certain parameters, even though they sound quite different, shouldnt be described as "good" or "bad" or even ranked as to quality.
In light of this, we think a reviewer does a disservice to the reader if he/she dismisses a speaker because it doesnt have a synergism with his room or doesnt exactly meet his needs. Forming judgements of right and wrong, we think, are much less helpful than doing ones best to describe exactly what one is hearing - again, assuming some level of performance here, of course. Certainly there are some speakers that just will never serve anyone in any room and you can trust in the fact that we are not so forgiving as to rationalize bad product. This is just the gear you will never read about in our pages.
So if we dont claim to be judge and jury here, what is our purpose? Thats simple. As we see it, our purpose here is to introduce some equipment and names to people who dont have the inclination to spend all of their free time reading the high-end magazines or driving from store to store to store. Weve found that a very large portion of our e-mail comes from people who are not fluent in the rituals of the high-end and are likely to be bewildered by the ever increasing list of unfamiliar names they encounter in high-end stores. Its with these people in mind that we at SMR would like to do what we can to introduce some names that are definitely not as familiar as others. Names that represent a very high level of quality and value.
Please do read what we have to say. As with any review or reviewer, dont buy based on what we have to say, but rather take our recommendation of a product as a recommendation that you go check it out for yourself and see if it fits your needs. If it doesnt, use the information you have gained to find something that does meet your needs. If a reviewer tells you that a speaker is bright, and you found the tonal balance to be perfect for your needs, look for other reviews of speakers he calls bright! In other words, know your reviewer and know how his tastes correspond with yours. In this way, even a reviewer with whom you disagree can be of service to you. And never forget that the search for the perfect component should be at least half of the fun!
Dont wonder about any behind-the-scenes conspiracies because they are all so positive and take heart in the fact that if we cant hide our enthusiasm over a product, its because we are having a great time with the piece and cant wait to tell you all about it. The only thing better than stumbling upon a great product is being able to share the news with friends in the hope that they will enjoy it as much as we do. Thats what its all about and its what SMR is all about.
John R. Potis Jr. on behalf of
Stuart M. Robinson, Alan L. Maier, Robert A. George and Nigel Pond.
Last updated 18 October, 1998
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